U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sounded a call for bold action to slow global warming and prevent environmental catastrophe in a keynote address February 23 at a two-day conference on climate change hosted by Boalt’s California Center for Environmental Law and Policy (CCELP).
Senator Feinstein laid out a comprehensive national legislative agenda to combat global warming—drawing in part on programs underway in California—consisting of a package of bills designed to:
- Increase the fuel economy of the nation’s automobiles;
- Encourage the use of low-carbon fuels and new clean vehicle technologies;
- Promote development of a national cap-and-trade framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity and industrial sectors, a program that would set graduated caps on anticipated levels of greenhouse gases and allow unlimited use of low-cost farm, forest, and wetland credits based on storage of carbon dioxide in the soil, and in plants and trees; and
- Mandate national energy efficiency standards modeled after California’s successful energy usage program.
“Disappearing rain forests…melting glaciers…crumbling coral reefs—the world around us is changing,” Feinstein said. “We have to open our eyes to the danger. We have to confront it. And we have to make major changes.”
The senator’s remarks came on the second day of Cap and Trade as a Tool for Climate Change Policy: Design and Implementation , organized by CCELP’s Global Commons Project under the direction of Cymie Payne, associate director of CCELP. The conference drew more than 300 people and featured UC Berkeley climatologists and ethicists, and industry, legal, and public policy authorities, together with an international roster of experts. Co-sponsors of the program included UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy’s Center for Environmental Public Policy, Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and the American Society of International Law’s International Environmental Law Interest Group.